Patriotism in the Age of Obama

During the presidential campaign, many citizens (and potential voters) took offense to the fact that candidate Obama refused to wear a US flag pin on his lapel as had become customary for many politicians after 9/11. Upon winning the nomination of the Democratic Party, lo and behold, the pin appeared on Obama’s lapel. This was not surprising since he was now campaigning before the entire electorate and not just the liberal base that cared more about saving the planet from phantom “man-made disasters” than saving the republic from very real “man made disasters."
Now that Obama is in the White House, this lack of patriotism, and disdain for the American flag in particular, is being reflected in real life circumstances. A pattern is emerging and it is quite disturbing.

Take for example the situation of Dallas resident and disabled veteran, Frank Larison, who is under fire from his homeowner’s association for displaying stickers on his car that reflect support for the Marine Corp, with whom he served. The board deems these decals to be advertisements in violation of the community’s rules and has threatened to have Mr. Larison’s vehicle towed and monetary fines imposed. And apparently, Mr. Larison is singled out as other vehicles displaying bumper stickers for political parties, health causes and other non-commercial interests were ignored.

However, Mr. Larison’s intent in displaying the decals, such as the Semper Fi motto, is not to advertise as he explains, “You can’t buy freedom… To me, it's being patriotic, and it shows that I served.”

Last week, another Texas citizen underwent similar treatment from her employer who forced her to take down an American flag displayed in the office she shares with several co-workers due to numerous “complaints.” Debbie McLucas’ husband and sons served in the military and her daughter is currently serving in Iraq. In honor of the Memorial Day holiday, Ms. McLucas hung a three foot by five foot flag in her office. In response to being ordered to take the flag down, Ms. McLucas stated:

"I find it very frightening because if I can't display my flag, what other freedoms will I lose before all is said and done?"

After this story made national news, Ms. McLucas’ employer learned the true meaning of numerous complaints – including protests in front of the building and national media attention. The public awareness resulted in an apology to Ms. McLucas and permission for her to re-hang the flag.

These two stories made national news. I wonder how many instances occur on a regular basis in which freedom-loving citizens are being muzzled and forced to hide displays of patriotism?

Ms. McLucas stated that the backlash from the public “restored [her] faith in the American people." While it is easy to lose faith in the American people that voted for a man who believes that his calling includes gutting the US Constitution and the freedoms for which many have lost their lives, I have a feeling that the recent tea parties are only the beginning of the steps citizens will take that will make us all proud to be called Americans.